The northern Italians have the goods on risotto. This becomes very evident when you travel to the north of Italy and the views outside your train window begin to fill with sprawling rice fields. This risotto is deliberately unadorned so you can mix and match by adding your favourite vegetables and seasonings.
SERVES 2 | 45 MINUTES
1 ½ litres vegetable liquid stock
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 ½ cups Arborio or Carnaroli rice
1 cup vegan dry white wine
4 tablespoons vegan butter or margarine
½ cup vegan parmesan, nutritional yeast flakes or cashew parmesan
to serve: salt, parmesan and cracked black pepper
Into a medium saucepan, pour in the liquid stock and keep warm over a low heat.
In a large saucepan, heat the oil and fry the onion over a medium heat. Once onion has softened, add the garlic and stir for one minute, being careful not to brown.
Pour in the rice and fry for 1 minute. Splash in the wine and stir until the rice soaks up the wine and evaporates completely.
Add 1 ladle of the warm stock to the rice and stir. Allow the rice to absorb all of the stock before adding the next ladle. Continue this ladle-by-ladle process, allowing the stock to be soaked up entirely each time. Keep on a low simmer throughout.
After approximately 20 minutes or once the rice is plump and on the softer side of al dente, remove from the heat.
Add the butter and parmesan and stir through the rice vigorously, whipping it into a creamier risotto. Replace the lid and allow to rest for a couple of minutes.
Check seasonings, adding salt if needed and serve with extra parmesan and lashings of cracked black pepper.
To create a Risi e Bisi Venetian classic risotto, fry ¾ cup chopped vegan sausages/bacon along with the onion and stir through 1 cup of peas when the risotto is almost cooked. To create a Milanese-style risotto add a few strands of saffron to the rice for a golden yellow hue (or a large dash of turmeric for a less expensive option).